If you’re a solopreneur who has been juggling all the tasks in your business, you may be feeling the pressure of getting it all done. But not JUST done. Done and with quality.
You may have considered hiring some support but are unsure what you could be delegating. Or even whether you should.
So what can solopreneurs or small business entrepreneurs do to determine what and whether they should delegate?
The very first thing to look at is what can you afford? Have a good look at your budget, look at your revenue, look at your expenses, and have a good look at those expenses. Review your subscriptions. Have you been spending money on subscriptions that you haven't used in months? And, I know, I frequently hear: “Oh yeah, but I might use it.” Well, how about we deal with it when it comes?
Because if you haven't used it for months and months, chances are you don't need it unless it’s an annual subscription paid per month, but that's a whole...
If we’re to believe social media/the internet, then when we find our “true calling”, when we follow our “real passion”, when we’re “fully aligned”, running our own business our way, there will be no such thing as work.
It’s all going to be bliss, successes and an embarrassment of riches.
I’m just going to go ahead and pop that little balloon.
Running a business should be mostly amazing, fulfilling moments. And, unfortunately, there will always be parts that just plain suck.
No matter how aligned and fulfilled and joyful and all the things the work is for you, there will always be parts that are just plain draining.
So what could entrepreneurs do when they are faced with tasks that they find incredibly draining?
The first thing is to see if there's anything that can be responsibly delegated.
Obviously, if there's something that you truly dislike doing that can be delegated, then...
Let's face it, being a new leader can be scary. Even though people don't talk about it a lot, it is natural to feel overwhelmed and anxious about how to handle situations and their outcome. The thing is, though, worrying can be destructive when left uncontrolled. And as entrepreneurs and leaders, I can guarantee you, you will be placed in high-stress, high-impact situations and even have to make decisions caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
So what can new leaders do to help manage harmful worrying?
The first thing is to actually recognize that it is harmful. Yes, I know. You're probably like: “I know that worrying is harmful.” Okay. But are you fully acknowledging it? Are you fully acknowledging just how harmful it is?
Have you truly considered how it is harming you as a person? It can take a toll on your mental and physical health. You will start feeling physical side effects, symptoms of that constant worry. Your...
When evaluating how our business is doing, we tend to gravitate toward stats. Numbers are that objective measure of growth or signal that there are significant issues that need to be addressed.
I know, for me, digging into numbers is that comfortable place. I just love it when I analyze the impact of implemented strategies. Okay… I don't always love it when the results aren't what I was hoping for, but it's certainly that fairly objective measure where I can really see whether the strategies are working or not.
But, as much as stats are essential – and a good SWOT – one aspect that is frequently neglected is measuring whether we’re remaining creative.
Creativity is key in helping entrepreneurs stand out from the crowd and gain a competitive edge.
So, in which ways do we employ creativity to ensure we’re driving innovation and growth?
One way is in recognizing opportunity. In another article, I talked about how to separate that...
Anyone leading any kind of initiative knows that there are several aspects, departments, teams that come together to contribute to success.
And the leader is usually the one keeping an eye on everything.
We are frequently the head juggler, trying to keep all the balls in the air, or – at least – we work really hard at not dropping too many. As part of that juggling exercise, we tend, some of us anyway, to want all the things all at once this month.
What we must keep in mind though, is that there's an extremely fine line between pushing for results and overextending ourselves and our team.
If you find yourself, or you're finding your team, frequently remarking that there's not enough time, then it's important to start digging into the issue and make sure that we're not in fact setting ourselves up or setting our team up for burnout.
So how can we evaluate whether what seems on the surface like a time management issue is actually hiding a much larger problem?
Have you ever been in a position where you had to revisit a past decision that you made, but when you started reviewing the available information, you couldn't remember why and how you came to that decision?
Yeah, that happens to me too.
As leaders, we have so much going on, so many decisions to make day in, day out. At some point some of the details will escape us.
So how can we help guard against losing too many valuable decision making details?
Whether it's when creating a budget, collecting metrics, or analyzing information, taking a moment to record your thought process could help yourself and other reviewers better understand what they are looking at and what was my thought process.
It doesn’t need to be long. Adding brief notes, a short comment, a thought, is sufficient.
This also helps provide an overview of some of the history, because that tends to get lost as well. If a team member suddenly leaves, that is a loss of history. This is a way to...
It's great when we get lots of time to dig into a problem before having to choose a solution to implement.
I love it when that happens!
Except that, in my experience, it rarely ever happens. In fact, in my experience, leaders usually have to make decisions essentially while still processing incoming information.
More than once, I have found myself having to stop and refocus because my mind was wandering off in “analysis land” in the middle of a meeting.
So, what process could we follow if we wanted to do a rapid risk forecast?
The first thing we could do is ask ourselves for simple questions:
Write it all out.
If you have something that is likely to happen and the consequences are low, consider whether it is something that is extremely risky that you need to address...
Anyone managing any kind of budget has surely come across a version of “You need to spend money to make money”.
Without any kind of guidelines or caveats, this can actually be a very dangerous statement.
Unbridled, that mindset could actually lead an organization to bankruptcy.
I would argue that we need to invest money to make money, and not all business purchases are an investment just because we really, really, want something. That desire alone doesn't turn it into an investment. Sometimes, it is just plain old spending.
As the year-end approaches, many business owners are having conversations with their accountants about taxes. And it might be tempting to try to reduce a business’ tax load by spending money. But it's important to take a moment to consider what that money will actually provide in return.
So, what can we do to help guide our thinking and help us make the distinction between year-end investing and year-end spending?
Running a business, being a leader, requires a lot of energy.
And sometimes, the demands of the day pull us in the direction that it dictates.
Next thing you know, you find yourself with an ever-expanding task list, constantly short on time, forever exhausted, and the busyness of running a business has caught you in its web.
I'm not saying that you're not working hard. You're working very, very hard.
But you're working hard on the wrong things and you're headed in the wrong direction.
And, in a few months, maybe a year or two even, you'll realize that you keep getting farther and farther away from your goals.
So what can you do to get out of this busyness web?
The first thing you can do is to stop for a moment. Hit that virtual pause button. Stop and reevaluate your priorities.
When doing so, ask yourself:
That's going to change. It's going to be fluid. For sure, we don't want...
Your fingers are typing, your eyes are scanning, your mind is racing.
Despite your impressive speed, you’re barely making a dent in that ever-expanding task list.
You push on. More gets added. “No worries,” you think, “You got this.”
Except that you’re constantly short on time, forever exhausted and you promise yourself that as soon as you finish that next “thing”, you’ll get a handle on this out-of-control hamster wheel. You may even take time off!
Until the next week. Where it’s more of the same.
And the following.
And the one after that.
And the cycle continues.
Although there are times when it is necessary to go heads-down and push through to get unstuck, it shouldn’t be that way all the time. That feeling of “survival” is draining, and our bodies are not a fan. Soon enough, you’ll start experiencing physical and psychological symptoms of “keeping on keeping on.”
So what do you do...